Feature subjects: Steve Krakauer, TV editor of Mediaite.com; Erin Carlson, editor of Crushable; Fred Mwangaguhunga, MediaTakeOut.com; Maureen O’Connor, Gawker weekend editor; Tommye Fitzpatrick, of Fashionologie; Lilit Marcus, editor of The Gloss; Sara Polsky, a writer for Curbed; Foster Kamer of the Village Voice and Bess Levin, editor of Dealbreaker.
By ALEX WILLIAMS
It had all the elements for the perfect tabloid gossip item — a clash between star financial journalists, big egos and a surprise ouster that had Wall Street buzzing: Henry Blodget, the well-known disgraced-analyst-turned-financial-pundit and co-founder of the much-read blog, The Business Insider, stunned the financial community last week by firing John Carney, the star managing editor of the site’s Clusterstock blog, reportedly because of philosophical differences over the site’s coverage.
The news, which was quickly picked up by the Reuters financial blogger Felix Salmon, who subsequently sparked an online spat of his own with Mr. Blodget, did not break in a gossip column like The New York Post’s Page Six or in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, which in a previous era might have owned this story. Rather, the scoop came from a 25-year-old Village Voice gossip blogger and University of Utah dropout named Foster Kamer.
Surfing the Web after business hours one evening, Mr. Kamer ran across speculation about Mr. Carney’s job status on a Twitter post by Gawker Media’s owner, Nick Denton. After 90 minutes of phone calls to sources within the financial journalism subculture, Mr. Kamer nailed down the item and posted it on the Voice site.
The lines between “reporter” and “blogger,” “gossip” and “news” have blurred almost beyond distinction. No longer is blogging something that marginalized editorial wannabes do from home, in a bathrobe, because they haven’t found a “real” job. Blogging now is a career path in its own right, offering visibility, influence and an actual paycheck. As more gossip action in a variety of fields moves online, young writers who might have hungrily chased an editorial assistant job at Condé Nast a few years ago now move to New York with the dream of making it as a blogger — either launching their own blog into the big time, à la Perez Hilton, or getting snapped up by a prominent blog network like Gawker Media or MediaBistro.
And although the better-known newspaper gossip columnists still churn along, among them Richard Johnson and Cindy Adams of The New York Post, and George Rush and Joanna Molloy of The New York Daily News, much of the action has moved online, with the up-and-coming players having little in common with legendary predecessors like Walter Winchell and Liz Smith. While Ms. Smith, 87 and still active, toiled in journalism for nearly 30 years before getting her own by-lined column (working first, among other things, as a typist, proofreader and radio producer), some of the newest notables in gossip are still in their 20s and only a few years removed from the days when they blogged from their college dorm rooms about fraternity hazing mishaps and the quality of the cafeteria food.
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